Friday, March 25, 2011

'Cause I'm a Dentist! And a Success!

As you may remember, one of the possible causes for Junior's slight weight loss over the winter was a need for a tooth float. His teeth may have been making it difficult for him to properly chew and therefore digest his food. Today we finally had that done and the visit from the Equine Dentist came with a surprise...

Do you know what that is? I sure wouldn't have known, and I'm kinda grossed out that it's sitting on my glove. It's a tiny wolf tooth that had not yet been removed. He had a scar from where the other one had been taken out, but this one had not come in all the way and was just sitting there right under the skin, right where bits go. This may partially explain his tendency to become a giraffe when initially asked to take contact. Or it may not really have bothered him, but the Dentist advised removal and it came out quickly and easily. It may have been there for years, or who knows. But it's out now. I felt less sympathetic about putting him through all of this today because I myself had a root canal on Tuesday. I feel your pain, buddy.

There he is in the clamp getting the points filed down. I was able to feel his pointy teeth before the filing and then the smoother teeth after the procedure. They were not terrible but they did need to be done.

The other informative part of the visit was the explanation of what's going on with Junior's middle incisors. His bout of cribbing (of which there has been zero evidence of since we've moved, btw) has caused damage to his teeth and his left one is actually dead and decaying. The right is a little better off, but not much.

Now you can see in these photos, first from the first winter I had him, which was before he started the cribbing, that the middle incisors are shorter than the others. Then on the right is from this winter post-cribbing. The Dentist explained something about how they once were growing differently than the others and so there was some inconsistent wear. The combination of that and the cribbing caused the teeth to essentially die. He showed me how he could stick a needle up inside the right one and there was no reaction from Junebug so we know the tooth is dead. For the time being there is nothing to be done. He doesn't seem to show any discomfort from it and there is no swelling or other evidence of a root abscess, but he told me what to look for so we can take care of it if it happens. Unfortunately, eventually the teeth might become abscessed or fractured and need to be removed.

Aside from the now increased guilt I feel for ever putting him in a situation that caused him to crib, can you just imagine how much it will add to his personality when he is missing his two front teeth?!?!?


  1. Well then. Why did the thought of a NEEDLE inserted INTO a TOOF make me cringe? Why are my mental images SO vivd? Why why why?

  2. Ohh Junebug, thats sad even though its painless and accidental. Poor buddy. I think it will totally enhance his character, although not in the smae degree as the last photo...

  3. That is sad poor Junebug. Do they have any idea on how long before they may need to be taken out and how does he eat grass when they are gone? Sorry to hear about it. :(

    I recently just learned that it is more important for a young horse to get their teeth done regularly than an older one, plus the vet said it is more a biting issue than a chewing issue in most cases. I guess it makes sense that if a young horses teeth grow faster they would have to be done more often. Just goes to show I still have a lot of learning to do yet.

  4. @Cedar: Sorry!

    @ValientDancer: As long as they're not infected they can stay, so who knows how long that'll be. Years maybe, or not. The biggest problem is that they will not grow so the other teeth need to be checked regularly so that he has a surface to bite grass with. It may be more difficult for him to eat grass after removal, but he's pretty resourceful about food. We'll just have to cross that bridge wen we get there, I guess. :B

  5. I bet Junebug is glad to have that wolf tooth out. It was probably like having popcorn stuck in your teeth and you can't floss.

  6. Sorry to hear about Junior's front teeth! When they're missing it'll just add character. :)

    Glad to hear the visit went well and hopefully you notice a difference now too!

  7. I think wolf teeth show up around age 3 but sometimes later. I've hd horses that get them and those that don't. Even had a couple that got just one. Funny how that happens.

    I didn't know that a tooth could die from cribbing. That really sucks.

  8. @ Rainbow: Well, it was a combination of the cribbing and whatever else happened before I got him. The teeth were already damaged before he started cribbing, unless he was a cribber at some point before I had him. It is unknown if they were already "dead" when I got him or not. They may have been dead before the cribbing and the cribbing just wore them down since dead teeth don't grow.

  9. Oh, goodie, something ELSE I can worry about when eventually horse shopping. :-/ I've read a lot about cribbing but didn't know it could cause tooth decay??? Poor Junior! If he does lose those choppers, I'm positive his new look will just add to his charm. Once a goofball, always a goofball. Maybe you could get him a "flipper" like those kids on the pageant circuit. :-)